Life surrounds us with opportunities. Opportunities to make choices that are adding to our health or taking away from it. Opportunities to connect with someone or stay wrapped in your own world. Opportunities to persevere and do the work in front of you or to allow distraction and procrastination to take over. Often I think of my life in terms of the big opportunities that come along. While those choices and chances can have a significant impact on the course of my life, it is the little everyday variety that truly set the feel and flow of my days, weeks and years.
This month brings with it a fuller load of items on my to do list, a hint of a cold threatening to take me down and unexpected emotional hits. My mind feels full. I am grateful for the habits I have been forming around rhythms of work and play, exercise and stillness. These are forming a strong foundation, however, there is still a myriad of opportunities in my day to be disciplined to do the next right thing in front of me or wallow in distraction and overwhelm. I know I am not alone in this moment by moment battle to work out when to push through and when to stop. I don’t always get it right but maybe sometimes there isn’t really a “right” to get. I don’t know who said this originally but I have been coming back to this idea:
What is one thing I can do now that my future self will thank me for?
I recently had the opportunity to attend a book launch party. It was over an hour’s drive away from my house. I knew I would get there significantly late as I would have to leave after my husband got home from work. This would normally be a “no” to a good opportunity. Logistics and timing made it seem too hard. And yet I went. My daughter’s response to my plans? “Are you crazy, Mum?!” Maybe I was a little. And yet, I loved it. I was out of my comfort zone, chatting with strangers as well as some people I knew only a little. It was a moment of marking how much I have grown and become more comfortable in my own skin and
I have become really good at saying no to opportunities. I need this skill to guard my capacity for the priorities and responsibilities I have set in my life. I have also needed to remind myself that sometimes I still need to say yes, even when it feels like a crazy yes, to stretch myself, to have experiences that I would otherwise miss and to replenish my soul. Where do you fall on the spectrum of no and yes? Which is your default?
Maybe the opportunities you are weighing up today are large and daunting. Maybe they are so mundane that you forget to think of them as opportunities. I don’t have all the answers for you. I don’t have all the answers for me! I do know that there are always more opportunities ahead. We can cut ourselves some slack in the midst of trying to make these choices. Let’s work out how to do our best to make wise choices while taking pressure off of ourselves to make perfect ones. Let’s say some crazy “yeses” and hard “no’s”. We have the option.